Arnoff’s images range from Patti Smith to Devo, from Ian Dury and Stiv Bators, from Nick Cave to Lydia Lunch and on and on. The new book Features well over 150 black and white portraits of some of the aforementioned names.
Included in the wonderful coffee-table crown jewel, Arnoff sits down to answer interview questions by Lydia Lunch, an American singer, poet and writer who became a prominent figure of the New York no wave scene.
Not only that, Lunch was regularly one of the subjects shot by Arnoff. In a recent interview with the Guardian, the photographer detailed an image he took alongside Exene Cervenk as the duo “got it in their heads to take some heart-shaped photos for Valentine’s day” and experience he described as ” just a treat to work with”.
Arnoff famously worked with Nick Cave frequently over his career, a relationship that was built in Cave’s early days as a musician. When asked about Arnoff, The Bad Seeds frontman once said “he’s an arsehole, but he’s a good photographer,” and that glowing endorsement takes centre stage on the cover of Shot In The Dark as a point of pride for Arnoff.
Despite Cave’s to the point take on Arnoff, the photographer himself has nothing but kind words to say about the Australian artist. “Nick is very easy and unaffected to work with,” Arnoff once said in a chat with Dangerous Minds. “He apologised for being up all night and indicated all the empty bottles on the TV as evidence, but was perfectly happy for me to carry on regardless even though he was not looking his best,” he added.
For a man that has seen some of the greatest live performances in punk history, Arnoff still has moments of magic that still stay strong in his mind. When asked if he had any particular event that stands out the most, he quickly answers “Patti Smith at the Roxy and the Damned at the Starwood changed everything.”
On the back of Arnoff’s book, a quote reads: “Ordinary mortals cannot comprehend that magic lives in the devil’s music.” Here, Arnoff captures that magic as the devil dances on stage, in the hotel room and the rest that goes with a touring rock and roll band.
(All images via David Arnoff’s book Shot In The Dark)